War is Hell
Maximus Action Carnage is a amusingly titled retro shoot-em-up from Bruno R. Marcos, author of the impressive Arcade Game Studio - a program that allows users to create their very own arcade style games. A vertically scrolling shoot-em-up (sorry, Shmup) with a war theme, MAC is clearly based on Capcom's classic 1985 coin-op hit, Commando. The year is 1942 and the Japanese Army have invaded and conquered South-East Asia. With the Allied forces retreating or having surrendered to the Japanese, it is down to one last soldier, a man who refuses to give in, who refuses to stop fighting. That man is you, Maximus Malone.
The presentation throughout MAC is superb, with wonderfully retro graphics that so closely resemble the Capcom arcade games of the 1980's that you could be forgiven for mistaking this for a real arcade machine. The animations are extremely fluid and the level of detail in both the backgrounds and sprites really elevate the game above and beyond the games of yesteryear it's so clearly inspired by. The music by known chiptune musician, Jake 'Virt' Kaufman is also of a high standard, with catchy and energetic tunes that match the frantic nature of the gameplay well - though I did recognise one of the tracks as having already been used in Retro City Rampage.
Maximus Action Carnage certainly lives up to its namesake in the gameplay arena, with some exceptionally hectic action that will have all but the most seasoned arcade gamers running off to cry to mamma. Bullets come thick and fast on this battlefield, with the action often steering close to bullet hell territory. Maximus always fires in the direction he runs, and can also lob grenades for added explosive damage. Power-ups located in statues increase your weapons firepower, add spread shots, and give you an automatic machine gun fire that negates having to constantly tap the fire button, and boy will you need them. Indeed, you become so reliant on them that when you are killed and begin again with your standard gun, you feel incredibly weak by comparison. At the end of each stage you must fight a large number of enemies that spew forth from all angles, with success relying on you surviving until the very last man is dead - these sections are a suitable tough end to the stage, and are certainly some of the most challenging parts of the entire game.
With fantastic aesthetics and exciting and challenging action that keeps you coming back for more, MAC not only pays fitting tribute to Commando and other coin-op games of this nature, but actually manages to best them all due to the level of polish and attention to detail. It also feels much fairer to play - despite being just as difficult as Ikari Warriors, Guerrilla War and, of course, Commando. This is one of the best modern arcade style games I have played in recent years and I urge you to play it for yourself, just don't expect a walk in the park (well, jungle).
Title : Maximus Action Carnage
Developer : Bruno R. Marcos
Year : 2012
System : PC
Price : Free